Nightstalker Overview!
0 Comments · Likes · Like · 31st Jul 2015
Nightstalker Overview

We’ve seen a taste of what the new subclasses have to offer, and although we couldn’t play with every perk in the tree, our experience was eventful enough to help us get an impression of how each was going to play out in PvP and PvE.

Keep in mind that E3 Builds are not final. Any of the perks mentioned and analyzed here have a chance to change significantly before launch.



Nightstalker

Grenades

The Nightstalker, as a Void class, has three grenades that all deal elemental Void damage. We consider Void damage to be somewhat of a black sheep in Destiny, as Void shields are the least prevalent in average content.

Spike Grenade: Identical to the Defender Titan variant. A stream of damaging Void energy, with a relatively short duration. It has the potential to be much better for the Nightstalker, thanks to a later perk that will “significantly” increase the duration of its torrent. This is really the only thing that holds back the Spike Grenade from being more worthwhile, so it’s good news.

Vortex Grenade: Identical to the Voidwalker Warlock variant. Leaves a moderately-sized AOE grenade on location that damages nearby enemies. This grenade could also be improved by the aforementioned perk, and would essentially become the Void equivalent of a Sunbreakers-boosted Solar Grenade. Still, they’re tricky to work under the best of circumstances.

Slash Grenade: The first new ability introduced for the Nightstalker, the Slash Grenade pops a thin, stylish, and deadly wall of Void energy for about 5 seconds, that simultaneously acts as damage and crowd control for the subclass. This is in keeping with Bungie’s design of the Nightstalker as “support”, as it will cut off enemies from being able to physically advance on your position.

It appeared tricky to use as outright damage, but is clearly designed as a deterrent to movement, and this could also be improved with the later perk. These have a utility for hitting campers, which Lightning Grenades and Tripmines had previously been best for.



Super

Shadowshot: Void energy condensed into a deadly arrow that tethers nearby opponents, effectively rooting them and leaving them helpless. Though it may seem weaker than most Supers, its true value lies in that rare aspect of Crowd Control. In PvP it locked down abilities, and we would wager that it would do the same in PvE – much like the Titan’s Suppressor Grenade. It is fired almost identically to Nova Bomb; upon pressing both bumpers/triggers, you switch to 3rd-person for a wind-up animation before launching a fast-firing arrow where your gaze is centered. Direct hits will outright kill any Guardian in PvP, and do solid damage to PvE enemies. Foes within a reasonable radius, even if they are not damaged by it, will be tied to one another – fish in a barrel.

Inextricable: A portion of damage taken by one tethered target is passed to all other tethered targets.

This was the only perk available for Patrick’s session, and he found it fairly helpful. It allows a well-coordinated team to spread out damage very quickly. It won’t be useful when you only manage to snag one or two enemies, but could potentially allow for necessary chip damage in bulkier foes in PvE. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any gating for total damage allowed. In PvP, it’ll allow for more efficient cleanup when you manage to snare multiple Guardians, but it’ll be a tough call to choose it over the other two options.

Wait For It: Shadowshot creates a proximity tether that triggers when targets are close.

This talent just screams PvP. Depending on how long the trap can linger, this could be devastating as ambush CC. Although you’ll be forfeiting the immediate lethal damage, any group of Guardians who are bunched together will find themselves suddenly helpless, leaving them as easy pickings for your Snipers – or another Super like Nova Bomb. In PvE, this will probably not be too great. Much like increased duration on a Tripmine, it just doesn’t suit how enemies behave. You don’t have to anticipate their behavior (though the Taken may be an exception) so simply launching your arrow when you need it will probably be enough. You’ll get your damage and your tether, which certainly beats just the latter.

Gloamranger: Unite your allies! Reduces incoming damage and buffs outgoing damage for your tethered fireteam.

And there’s the PvE favorite. The wording is a little peculiar, and it’s hard to determine what a “tethered Fireteam” is in a positive sense, but the buff itself sounds ideal. It’s possible it could refer to any allies that are in proximity of your Shadowshot when you launch it. Or, maybe another beneficial tether is spawned from the impact zone. Either way, it sounds like a combination of Blessing and Weapons of Light, which separately are already fantastic perks for a Defender to grant his friends. Together, they’d bolster both DPS and survivability, supercharging your team to stand their ground and deal more damage simultaneously. We don’t expect the buffs to be as long-lasting or significant as the Defender if they’re granted as tandem, as this could prove to be unbalanced – especially in PvP.



Melee

Smoke Bomb: The first special melee to not really be a melee at all. Smoke Bomb allows you to throw disorienting smoke that obscures your enemies’ FoV, while slowing them and dealing minor damage over time. The Nightstalker can still slash normally, but Smoke Bomb can be used when the special melee is fully charged. In PvP, the disorientation and slow are great ways to get the advantage in CQB, and any damage is just a light bonus. We can see Smoke Bomb being great counter-play against Shotgun users, stranding them in no-man’s-land to allow them to be picked off by any ranged weapon with ease. We have yet to see it in action in PvE, but if it severely hampers enemy actions, it’ll be another excellent addition to the Nightstalkers burgeoning CC niche.

Smog: Significantly increases the size of Smoke, allowing you to affect multiple targets.

Pretty self-explanatory. As good as Smoke Bomb is, it’ll be even better when more can suffer its sinister, debilitating effects. It should be a flexible option for both PvP, granting some forgiveness for anticipating enemy movements, and area-lockdown for objectives and chokepoints. In PvE, you could potentially halt a charging enemy or keep shields down with a moderate AoE cloud. Ever been annoyed to get caught in a Wizard’s Poison Cloud? Time to pay them back.

Envenom: Adds a toxin that suffocates enemies within Smoke.

This is a bit of a wild card at this juncture. It clearly is the offensive variant of Smoke, and likely increases the DoT to levels that could prove to be near-lethal. Our prediction is that it won’t be able to down other Guardians in PvP; the DoT might increase from 7 to 14, for example – but this wouldn’t be enough to single-handedly kill an enemy. In PvE, we’re betting that this makes smoke able to kill Tier 1 enemies like thrall over its duration, but will otherwise just provide a tiny bit of extra overall sting to anyone who passes through it. Overall, we don’t feel that damage will be the forte of this special melee, so think carefully about whether you’d prefer extra suffocating force over the chance to trap more enemies reliably.

Snare: Allows Smoke to stick to surfaces, detonating when enemies are near.

Again, depending on how long the trap can linger, this could be another potent tool of CC usefulness. It essentially turns smoke into a lower-damaging tripmine, substituting raw destructive power for CC. It could pair excellently with any of your grenades, especially Vortex grenades, which otherwise can be dodged harmlessly by even the lamest of AIs and worst Crucible players. Of course, you won’t be trapping too many enemies, as you have to forfeit the use of Smog to choose this. It seems like a nice PvP ability, as another way of getting a quick leg-up in a 1v1 encounter. The Nightstalker doesn’t play fair, and Snare is its bread-and-butter.



Stats and Paths

They’re identical to that of other Hunters. It’s your call whether you prefer Armor, Recovery, or Agility. The Nightstalker is well equipped to stand its ground a bit compared to Gunslinger and Bladedancer, so Recovery or Armor might be a higher priority than Agility.

Bonus Perks

Uncanny Archer: This perk seems to offer a staggeringly strong benefit. It supposedly increases your Armor and Recovery by 1 for each target tethered by your most recent Shadowshot, and lasts until your Shadowshot is next recharged. If that wasn’t enough, it also reduces the time until your next Shadowshot. This sounds borderline unbalanced, potentially granting +3 Armor and Recovery easily for well over two minutes, only to be immediately available again with your next Shadowshot.

With the right build, you could have unparalleled Recovery or Armor with almost constant uptime. Of course, this is for PvE. In PvP, you’re not going to tether nearly as many enemies with as much regularity. Still, the extra Armor might help you cross a few DT thresholds, and Recovery and a faster Super recharge is always a big factor. A great perk.

Shadowtrapper: It increases the range, duration, and “potency” of your tethers. If you’re a high-Intellect build and looking to get the most of out of your Shadowshot, this might be the perk for you. It’s hard to know what “potency” means at this point, but it could increase how complete the root is, limit actions further, or provide heretofore unspecified benefits like extra damage or an armor de-buff. Increased range gives you a little leeway on your accuracy in PvP and PvE, and a little extra time to hold them down means that much more time to burn them down with your Fireteam’s help.

Well Provisioned: Time to add Hunters to the classes that can pack an extra grenade. As all of them rely on duration for their efficacy – whether it’s damage or CC – this perk seems very well-designed.

Class Perks

Keen Scout: You “sneak” faster, which is odd, because there haven’t been any descriptions of perks that act as camouflage, like the Bladedancer. It could indicate the speed at which you move when crouched, which would be underwhelming. You also gain an “Enhanced Motion Tracker” and Mark targets you damage, which will will place the Nightstalker in a bit of a field commander role, being able to track high-priority targets while simultaneously marking and calling them out for his or her teammates.

Rapid Shot: After firing your initial Shadowshot arrow, you’re able to follow up with two “explosive” arrows in rapid succession. This is meant to make Shadowshot more offensive, granting extra DPS for those Hunters looking to squeeze out a little more crowd-clearing from their Nightstalker. The AOE, damage, and mechanism of fire for these final two arrows is unknown, so we can’t predict if you can use them with discretion or if they simply follow the initial shot automatically.

Shadestep: The first example of a dodge mechanic introduced in Destiny, Shadestep looks like it might be a game-changer. It allows the Nightstalker to dive-roll out of the way to dodge enemy fire. This is going to be the PvP perk for the Lone Wolf, who will be at a supreme advantage when it comes to picking and choosing fights. In close range, it looks like it will be as annoying and difficult to counter as Blink and the Shotgun Slide. In PvE, it’ll be a great choice for those who enjoy a little more lateral maneuverability. The only downside is needing to crouch first in order to use it.

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